Aletho News


Obama, Kashmir, and India’s “Perfect Genocide”

teleSur | February 15, 2015

Welcome to Kashmir, the land known for its flowers, mountains and pristine lakes!

ready_to_chargex_but_before_filming_protesters_copy.jpg_916636689But here, I am talking about an absolutely different Kashmir:

Welcome to the land of watchtowers and barbed wire, of military convoys, of torture and rape! Welcome to the place where India, the U.S. and Israel are continuously conducting their joint military exercises, while plotting in unison, the best strategy of how to oppress and “pacify” the local population.

Welcome to the land of 7,000 mass graves!

Welcome to a land of torture and extra-judicial executions, where at least 80,000 people have already died, most of them in just the last two decades.

Welcome to that exhausted land, where at least 8,000 people have been “disappeared” without a trace, where the entire female population of some border villages have been raped, where torture perpetrated by Indian security forces has reached an unimaginable level of brutality.

Maybe you have never heard about the crimes against humanity committed by the Indian forces in Kashmir or in the Northeast, and it is not surprising if you haven’t. Because India is like Indonesia, like Rwanda, Uganda or Ukraine — it is now a staunch ally of the West; virtually its client state. As a reward to the Indian rulers and elites, there is almost no criticism coming from the Western mainstream media. And all the Indian mass media now belongs to the right-wing business conglomerates, so there is no criticism coming from there, either!

What takes place in Kashmir is called genocide — by some, by many. But their voices are barely audible. Their voices are muffled, even silenced, by the Western and Indian regimes.


“By inviting President Obama to New Delhi, India betrayed BRICS, politically, economically and militarily,” explained Mr. Binu Matthew, editor of an influential alternative Indian web-based magazine Countercurrents, which operates from the southern state of Kerala (

For years, I actually tried to define India’s position in BRICS. My conclusion is increasingly straightforward: it does not belong there at all! Its social, economic, political and military stands are anti-BRICS, pro-business and pro-Western.

While Obama was visiting India in January 2015, I was actually working in Kashmir. In fact, exactly at the time when his Air Force One was touching down near New Delhi, I was supposed to be transiting at Indira Gandhi International Airport, en route from Kerala to Srinagar, Kashmir.

The madness of the Indian security apparatus in action has turned into something indescribable! Two maniacal countries — India and the United States, have joined their hands, as well as their paranoia.

My Air India flight had to circle in the air for an extra hour, before being allowed to land. And several days later, long after Obama departed, when I checked into the same hotel where the U.S. President had been staying (ITC Maurya), the place was still overflowing with those brave and beefed-up U.S. security apparatchiks and their confused Indian lackeys.

I was told that at its peak, there were approximately 1,600 members of the U.S. security, operating in the India’s capital. They brought everything with them, from surveillance equipment, to oxygen bombs, in order to “fight” the legendary New Delhi pollution and supply their Commander-in-Chief with clean, breathable air.

The Metro system was shut down, and snipers, both from local and foreign security forces occupied most of the high-rise buildings in the center.

In India, even without Obama’s visit, surveillance and “security” has become a national obsession. Outrageous “security” measures here are always justified by “terrorism” and by all other “threats” (most of them fabricated). The main reason why they exist is very simple: they serve the elites who are protecting themselves against the great majority of their own miserably poor, cheated and underprivileged citizens.

Obama got from his Indian sojourn exactly what he hoped for: both countries (or more precisely, their elites) are now moving closer and closer towards each other, both militarily (India is readily offering itself to the U.S. geo-political interests, particularly to the most important one, which is to ostracize, demonize and provoke China) and economically by maintaining a despotic market fundamentalist system, which is for the exclusive benefit of the upper classes, corporations and moneyed mobsters.

The mechanism is simple: India, which is actually a police state, oppresses the majority of its citizens on behalf of the Empire and its business interests. And in exchange it gets promoted as “the largest democracy on Earth.”

Its big boys are now finally getting what they have dreamt about ever since the collapse of the British Empire: acceptance to the exclusive Western imperialist club. When they were in charge there, the Brits put up warnings all over Sub-Continent: “No Indians and Dogs!” Such sleights are now conveniently forgotten. Everything Western is glorified.

“Let’s walk together!” declared Obama during his visit. He forgot to mention, where?


Now imagine what a police state based on thoroughly cynical principles and deceptions is capable of doing to an occupied territory, like Kashmir!

Parvez Imroz, the Director of “Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society,” explained to me during our meetings on the outskirts of Srinagar, in Kashmir:

“India, being a growing regional power, with an increasingly free market open to the United States and other such states, has been emboldened by foreign powers.

The army since 1989 has resorted to war crimes as they have been given legal impunity, and seldom have any armed personnel been punished for crimes against humanity. The militarization in Jammu and Kashmir has affected all aspects of life and unfortunately the Indian media and civil society, with some exceptions, have also been extending the moral and political impunity to the army who they believe are fighting trans-border terrorism. The systematic disappearances, mass graves, and torture have been completely ignored by the Indian and international media.”

In New Delhi, I discussed the joint exercises of Indian, US and Israeli military forces, with a renowned independent documentary film-maker, Sanjay Kak. He concluded:

“When it comes to brutality, Indian forces could actually teach both Israel and United States quite a few things.”


It is easy to confirm it.

For several days, I worked in Kashmir, with two members of “Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society,” but also with reporters employed by large Western press agencies, as well as with prominent lawyers from New Delhi. The journalists and attorneys asked not to be identified in this report, for reasons of safety and fear of losing their jobs. But they readily shared their knowledge and contacts.

I visited the border region with Pakistan, near the city of Kupwara. I also worked in the city of Sopore, known for its resistance against what the majority of local people calls, “the occupation of Kasmire.” I worked in Srinagar and its vicinity, and in several other places. It is obvious that Kashmir is brutalized, and the loss of lives here is so high that it could easily qualify as genocide.

The torture of civilians accused of supporting the “Mujahedin,” is comparable only with other examples of the most outrageous atrocities, committed in the 20th century. There seems to be no justice for the victims.

I spoke to local people from the villages of Kunan and Poshpora, where more than 2 decades ago, the Indian military arrested all men, took them to a frozen creek and tortured them, then raped all the women in their houses, killing five, including a four-day old baby. This case is well documented, and the victims pressed charges, but no one had been punished as of yet.

I spoke to a man in Sopore, Hassan Bhat, who lost both of his sons. They were murdered at the age of 15. One was shot by a cop while he was buying a carton of milk at local grocery store, and the other, shot with a teargas canister when he was trying to hide in the river, scared of a confrontation between local youth and armed forces. No justice; no one had been punished, although Mr. Bhat knows the names of the officers who were in charge.

I was shown several photos, and the case of a man who was detained after being accused of sympathizing with the “Mujahedeen,” was explained to me. When he was not “too cooperative,” both his feet were cut off. He survived. Later, pieces of flesh were cut off from various parts of his body, cooked, and force-fed to him. He survived again. For years he has been pressing charges, but no one has been punished.

The methods of torture used in Kashmir includes driving nails into victim’s feet, amputations, electric shocks, burning of genitals and other parts of the body, and the removal of nails. Rape is a common form of torture.

All this is documented. Nothing is done.

Even in India itself, I spoke to several people who are aware of the situation.

Just today, in Darjeeling, West Bengal, my colleague explained:

“My friend’s brother confessed that when he recently served in Kashmir, he was in a special Gorkha unit, well known and hated for its brutality. A Mujahedeen fighter, in one of deep villages, killed one of their men. The soldiers did not inform their commander: they just went on the rampage, ‘killing literally everything that moved, from women and children, to dogs, cats and chickens’. None of them were punished. They were discharged without honors. No one was punished.”


Mr. Parvez Imroz concluded:

“In order to suppress the struggle for freedom in Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian government has resorted to systematic and institutional repression. More than 700,000-strong, armed force has been pressed into service to neutralize the armed struggle and to control the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are seeking the right of self-determination which the government of India had promised before the United Nations in the 1948 and 1949 resolutions. The repression of the Indian state has been part of their policy. In this lie, even the judiciary is culpable, they as a wing of the State, have served the interests of the executive and not the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The international institutions, particularly western civil society and governments after 9/11 and because of Islamophobia and other interests, are completely ignoring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.”

Arundhati Roy, a famous Indian writer and activist, came to a similar conclusion two years earlier when she spoke on “Democracy Now”:

“Today Kashmir is the most densely militarized zone in the world. India has something like 700,000 security forces there. And in the ’90s, early ’90s, the fight became — turned into an armed struggle, and since then, More than 70,000 people have died, maybe 100,000 tortured, more than 8,000 disappeared. I mean, we all talk a lot about Chile, Pinochet, but these numbers are far greater.”

Locals often compare Kashmir to Palestine, to the Intifada there, but they never fail to point out that their land is suffering a much worse fate, as many more people have died here, and under much more horrible circumstance. Kashmir is far from the cameras, and far from international scrutiny.

I met stone-throwing youth in Kashmir. I stood between them and the security forces. I managed to photograph the encounter. The intensity here was the same as I had witnessed in Palestine. But in Srinagar, I was alone. I was told: “Foreigners do not dare to come. The Indian media does not care and if it did come, perhaps it would have to face the wrath of the locals. And the local media is scared: whenever they come, they get beaten up by the security forces.”

Not long ago, a Mexican journalist dared, and was badly beaten by Indian police. When his case became known, the police apologized: “Sorry, he looked like a local. We thought he was a Kashmiri.”

People, who dare to speak and write about the plight of Kashmir, are intimidated, deported, and even physically attacked. Some of the critics are ordinary individuals, while others are well-known figures:

Arundhati Roy is periodically threatened with sedition charges, lawsuits and life imprisonment.

Others, like the legendary radio host David Barsamian, got deported from India, no explanation was given.

In October 2011, a senior Supreme Court lawyer Mr. Prashant Bhushan (who drafted the “Lokpal Bill”) was brutally beaten in his chambers at the Supreme Court after he made comments on the human rights situation in Kashmir.


In Sopore, several people formed a circle around me, after dark, in front of a house that recently saw fighting between pro-independence fighters and the security forces.

“What would save Kashmir?” I asked.

A heroic but desperate battle, of 200 to 300 pro-independence fighters struggling against 700,000 members of the security forces, was not looking too promising.

“Only pressure from the international community can help,” I was told.

“BRICS,” I thought. The West was too busy admiring Indian oligarchs, the military top brass, and politicians who had recently just been considered to be responsible for some heinous crimes against humanity, including those committed in 2002 in the state of Gujarat!

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s claims on journalists slain in its war “misleading”

Palestine Information Center – February 16, 2015

822334-journalistjournalistsafp-1421340898-410-640x480.jpg_1718483346GAZA – The Palestinian ministry of information strongly denounced Israel’s channel 7 for fabricating claims about some of the journalists that had been killed by the Israeli army during the last war on the Gaza Strip, and described its report as “misleading.”

Israel’s channel 7 claimed in a recent report that eight of the journalists who were killed during Israel’s last military operation in Gaza were working for Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The information ministry said in a press release on Sunday that the channel’s claims about the journalists was an exposed attempt by the Israeli government to shirk its responsibility for the crimes its army had committed against the journalists in Gaza.

The ministry underlined that all Israeli crimes against the journalists in the last war were documented in reports issued by international and local organizations, especially the International Federation of Journalists.

It said that Israel’s attempt to deflect attention from its crimes by questioning the number of slain journalists and their professional activities could not deceive the UN probe committee or the international community.

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli authorities ban water hook-up to Palestinian city

MEMO | February 16, 2015

Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water, Silvan Shalom, banned water connection to the new West Bank Palestinian city of Rawabi, which is to house around 40,000 Palestinian families, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported yesterday.

Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon and the Coordinator of the Israeli Government Activities in the Palestinian Territories Major General Yoav Mordechai had ordered the Israeli Water Authority to provide water to the city.

However, Shalom refused Ya’alon’s instruction saying that water and sewage projects in the West Bank require the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee’s (JWC) approval.

Shalom blamed the Palestinians, claiming they have been refusing to convene the committee since 2010. The response from Shalom’s office stated that according to an agreement with the Palestinians signed in 1995, the committee is the principal party which decides on such issues in West Bank communities.

Haaretz reported the Palestinian side confirming that the committee had not convened since 2010, but they insisted this does not justify the ban to connect water to the city.

The head of project department in the Palestinian Water Authority, Ihab Al-Barghouti, said: “The reason that the committee has not convened was the Israeli condition that the committee must approve an Israeli settlement project in return for any approval of any Palestinian project.”

Al-Barghouti insisted that the Palestinians refused this condition, thus, they do not attend the committee’s meetings.

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

UK Human Rights Activist Beaten and Arrested by Israeli Soldiers at Protest in Palestine


Mick Bowman being arrested by Israeli soldiers in Bil’in / Haitham Khatib
By Alexandra Halaby | IMEMC & Agencies | February 16, 2015

Human rights activist and English political candidate, Mick Bowman, alleges he was beaten and arrested at a peaceful demonstration in Palestine on Friday.

The human rights activist from Tyneside, in North East England, claims he was beaten and abused after being arrested while taking part in a peaceful demonstration in Palestine on Friday.

Mick Bowman, aged 57, from the United Kingdom, said he was pepper sprayed in the face from less than six inches away during his arrest Friday afternoon. He was then detained without charge by Israeli soldiers for 24 hours and then released.

The case of Mr. Bowman’s violent arrest is being investigated by Israeli authorities who claim that his alleged treatment was “unacceptable” and “inappropriate,” according to a statement received by IMEMC.

Mr. Bowman is a member of the Newcastle Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (NPSC) located in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England. He is also actively involved with his local branch of Amnesty International. Bowman was taking part in a peaceful demonstration along with other international solidarity volunteers protesting Israel’s continuous violations of Palestinian human rights in the village of Bil’in, located in the West Bank just north of Ramallah.

Witnesses at the Bil’in protest tell IMEMC that Mr. Bowman did not commit any violent acts and that he was arrested for no apparent reason.

Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists gather in the village of Bil’in each Friday to protest the construction of the illegal Israeli separation wall which has divided the village. Previously, President Jimmy Carter has joined the Bil’in protests, as has Richard Branson. In April 2009, a Palestinian man, Bassem Abu Rahmeh was killed when an Israeli soldier fired a teargas canister into his chest. The death of Bassem Abu Rahmeh was depicted in the 2011 film, ‘5 Broken Cameras.’ The following year, Jawaher Abu Rahmah, a 36 year old woman, was also killed following protests at the village. The conditions of Ms. Abu Rahmah’s death were contested and most likely she died from suffocation following teargas being hurled at her face.

In a message Mr. Bowman sent to coordinators at NPSC, he says he was told he was arrested for allegedly assaulting an Israeli soldier.

He wrote in the message: “That was why they had detained and restrained me with ‘appropriate force’ (standing on my hands and thumping me etc to get the plastic cuffs on and then pepper-spraying my eyes from a distance of six inches after I had been cuffed but refused to stand up).

“The military were extremely aggressive from the outset in how they responded to what was a peaceful demonstration.

“I gave up counting the number of tear gas grenades fired after I counted 50 or so – the eventual number will have been in the hundreds – and stun grenades and rubber coated steel bullets were fired at us all.”

Mick Bowman is a mental health social worker in his native UK. He was held for 24 hours by Israeli soldiers during which time he was processed by the military, interviewed by Israeli civil police, and taken to a military court. He was released on Saturday night with stipulations that he never return to the West Bank.

Mr. Bowman is now in Jerusalem and due to return to the UK on Thursday.

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran Denies Claims on New Khamenei Letter to Obama

Al-Akhbar | February 16, 2015

Iran has denied reports that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wrote to US President Barack Obama in response to an October letter mooting cooperation against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Khamenei, who has the final say in all matters of state in Iran, had sent a secret but noncommittal letter to Obama in response to his overture.

But in a statement released late on Sunday, the foreign ministry denied there had been any new correspondence.

“The US president has already previously written letters and in some cases there have been replies,” ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said.

“There has been no new letter.”

The Journal reported that Khamenei had raised an array of historic grievances against the United States in his response to Obama’s letter, which suggested cooperation against ISIS if Iran reaches a deal with world powers on its nuclear program.

Tehran is an ally of both Baghdad and Damascus in their fights against ISIS but has kept its distance from the US-led coalition carrying out air campaigns in the two countries.

Iran and other critics opposed to US involvement in the conflict with ISIS have pointed out that Washington, in partnership with its Gulf allies, played a role in the formation and expansion of extremist groups like ISIS by arming, financing and politically empowering armed opposition groups in Syria.

Iran also believes the US and Britain are using the Islamist threat to justify their renewed presence in the region.

Iran and the US have not had diplomatic ties since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.

However, there has been a growing recognition that Iran could play a role in helping to restore stability in countries such as Iraq and Syria.

Since the election of President Hassan Rouhani in June 2013, Iran-US relations have entered a new phase. In November 2014, for the first time since the Islamic Revolution, Iran’s foreign minister and the US secretary of state had a direct bilateral meeting in Vienna over Iran’s nuclear program.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Ukraine Denouement

By Michael Hudson | CounterPunch | February 16, 2015

The fate of Ukraine is now shifting from the military battlefield back to the arena that counts most: that of international finance. Kiev is broke, having depleted its foreign reserves on waging war that has destroyed its industrial export and coal mining capacity in the Donbass (especially vis-à-vis Russia, which normally has bought 38 percent of Ukraine’s exports). Deeply in debt (with €3 billion falling due on December 20 to Russia), Ukraine faces insolvency if the IMF and Europe do not release new loans next month to pay for new imports as well as Russian and foreign bondholders.

Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko announced on Friday that she hopes to see the money begin to flow in by early March.[1] But Ukraine must meet conditions that seem almost impossible: It must implement an honest budget and start reforming its corrupt oligarchs (who dominate in the Rada and control the bureaucracy), implement more austerity, abolish its environmental protection, and make its industry “attractive” to foreign investors to buy Ukraine’s land, natural resources, monopolies and other assets, presumably at distress prices in view of the country’s recent devastation.

Looming over the IMF loan is the military situation. On January 28, Christine Lagarde said that the IMF would not release more money as long as Ukraine remains at war. Cessation of fighting was to begin Sunday morning. But Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh announced that his private army and that of the Azov Battalion will ignore the Minsk agreement and fight against Russian-speakers. He remains a major force within the Rada.

How much of Ukraine’s budget will be spent on arms? Germany and France made it clear that they oppose further U.S. military adventurism in Ukraine, and also oppose NATO membership. But will Germany follow through on its threat to impose sanctions on Kiev in order to stop a renewal of the fighting? For the United States bringing Ukraine into NATO would be the coup de grace blocking creation of a Eurasian powerhouse integrating the Russian, German and other continental European economies.

The Obama administration is upping the ante and going for broke, hoping that Europe has no alternative but to keep acquiescing. But the strategy is threatening to backfire. Instead of making Russia “lose Europe,” the United States may have overplayed its hand so badly that one can now think about the opposite prospect. The Ukraine adventure could turn out to be the first step in the United States losing Europe. It may end up splitting European economic interests away from NATO, if Russia can convince the world that the epoch of armed occupation of industrial nations is a thing of the past and hence no real military threat exists – except for Europe being caught in the middle of Cold War 2.0.

For the U.S. geopolitical strategy to succeed, it would be necessary for Europe, Ukraine and Russia to act against their own potential economic self-interest. How long can they be expected to acquiesce in this sacrifice? At what point will economic interests lead to a reconsideration of old geo-military alliances and personal political loyalties?

This is becoming urgent because this is the first time the EU has been faced with such war on its own borders (if we except Yugoslavia). Where is the advantage for Europe supporting one of the world’s most corrupt oligarchies north of the Equator?

America’s Ukrainian adventure by Hillary’s appointee Victoria Nuland (kept on and applauded by John Kerry), as well as by NATO, is forcing Europe to commit itself to the United States or pursue an independent line. George Soros (whose aggressive voice is emerging as the Democratic Party’s version of Sheldon Adelson) recently urged (in the newly neocon New York Review of Books) that the West give Ukraine $50 billion to re-arm, and to think of this as a down payment on military containment of Russia. The aim is the old Brzezinski strategy: to foreclose Russian economic integration with Europe. The assumption is that economic alliances are at least potentially military, so that any power center raises the threat of economic and hence political independence.

The Financial Times quickly jumped on board for Soros’s $50 billion subsidy.[2] When President Obama promised that U.S. military aid would be only for “defensive arms,” Kiev clarified that it intended to defend Ukraine all the way to Siberia to create a “sanitary cordon.”

First Confrontation: Will the IMF Loan Agreement try to stiff Russia?

The IMF has been drawn into U.S. confrontation with Russia in its role as coordinating Kiev foreign debt refinancing. It has stated that private-sector creditors must take a haircut, given that Kiev can’t pay the money its oligarchs have either stolen or spent on war. But what of the €3 billion that Russia’s sovereign wealth fund loaned Ukraine, under London rules that prevent such haircuts? Russia has complained that Ukraine’s budget makes no provision for payment. Will the IMF accept this budget as qualifying for a bailout, treating Russia as an odious creditor? If so, what kind of legal precedent would this set for sovereign debt negotiations in years to come?

International debt settlement rules were thrown into a turmoil last year when U.S. Judge Griesa gave a highly idiosyncratic interpretation of the pari passu clause with regard to Argentina’s sovereign debts. The clause states that all creditors must be treated equally. According to Griesa (uniquely), this means that if any creditor or vulture fund refuses to participate in a debt write-down, no such agreement can be reached and the sovereign government cannot pay any bondholders anywhere in the world, regardless of what foreign jurisdiction the bonds were issued under.

This bizarre interpretation of the “equal treatment” principle has never been strictly applied. Inter-governmental debts owed to the IMF, ECB and other international agencies have not been written down in keeping with private-sector debts. Russia’s loan was carefully framed in keeping with London rules. But U.S. diplomats have been openly – indeed, noisily and publicly – discussing how to “stiff” Russia. They even have thought about claiming that Russia’s Ukraine loans (to help it pay for gas to operate its factories and heat its homes) are an odious debt, or a form of foreign aid, or subject to anti-Russian sanctions. The aim is to make Russia “less equal,” transforming the concept of pari passu as it applies to sovereign debt.

Just as hedge funds jumped into the fray to complicate Argentina’s debt settlement, so speculators are trying to make a killing off Ukraine’s financial corpse, seeing this gray area opened up. The Financial Times reports that one American investor, Michael Hasenstab, has $7 billion of Ukraine debts, along with Templeton Global Bond Fund.[3] New speculators may be buying Ukrainian debt at half its face value, hoping to collect in full if Russia is paid in full – or at least settle for a few points’ quick run-up.

The U.S.-sponsored confusion may tie up Russia’s financial claims in court for years, just as has been the case with Argentina’s debt. At stake is the IMF’s role as debt coordinator: Will it insist that Russia take the same haircut that it’s imposing on private hedge funds?

This financial conflict is becoming a new mode of warfare. Lending terms are falling subject to New Cold War geopolitics. This battlefield has been opened up by U.S. refusal in recent decades to endorse the creation of any international body empowered to judge the debt-paying capacity of countries. This makes every sovereign debt crisis a grab bag that the U.S. Treasury can step in to dominate. It endorses keeping countries in the U.S. diplomatic orbit afloat (although on a short leash), but not countries that maintain an independence from U.S. policies (e.g., Argentina and BRICS members).

Looking forward, this position threatens to fracture global finance into a U.S. currency sphere and a BRICS sphere. The U.S. has opposed creation of any international venue to adjudicate the debt-paying capacity of debtor nations. Other countries are pressing for such a venue in order to save their economies from the present anarchy. U.S. diplomats see anarchy as offering an opportunity to bring U.S. diplomacy to bear to reward friends and punish non-friends and “independents.” The resulting financial anarchy is becoming untenable in the wake of Argentina, Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and other sovereign debtors whose obligations are unpayably high.

The IMF’s One-Two Punch leading to privatization sell-offs to rent extractors            

IMF loans are made mainly to enable governments to pay foreign bondholders and bankers, not spend on social programs or domestic economic recovery. Sovereign debtors must agree to IMF “conditionalities” in order to get enough credit to enable bondholders to take their money and run, avoiding haircuts and leaving “taxpayers” to bear the cost of capital flight and corruption.

The first conditionality is the guiding principle of neoliberal economics: that foreign debts can be paid by squeezing out a domestic budget surplus. The myth is that austerity programs and cuts in public spending will enable governments to pay foreign-currency debts – as if there is no “transfer problem.”

The reality is that austerity causes deeper economic shrinkage and widens the budget deficit. And no matter how much domestic revenue the government squeezes out of the economy, it can pay foreign debts only in two ways: by exporting more, or by selling its public domain to foreign investors. The latter option leads to privatizing public infrastructure, replacing subsidized basic services with rent-extraction and future capital flight. So the IMF’s “solution” to the debt problem has the effect of making it worse – requiring yet further privatization sell-offs.

This is why the IMF has been wrong in its economic forecasts for Ukraine year after year, just as its prescriptions have devastated Ireland and Greece, and Third World economies from the 1970s onward. Its destructive financial policy must be seen as deliberate, not an innocent forecasting error. But the penalty for following this junk economics must be paid by the indebted victim.

In the wake of austerity, the IMF throws its Number Two punch. The debtor economy must pay by selling off whatever assets the government can find that foreign investors want. For Ukraine, investors want its rich farmland. Monsanto has been leasing its land and would like to buy. But Ukraine has a law against alienating its farmland and agricultural land to foreigners. The IMF no doubt will insist on repeal of this law, along with Ukraine’s dismantling of public regulations against foreign investment.

International finance as war

The Ukraine-IMF debt negotiation shows why finance has become the preferred mode of geopolitical warfare. Its objectives are the same as war: appropriation of land, raw materials (Ukraine’s gas rights in the Black Sea) and infrastructure (for rent-extracting opportunities) as well as the purchase of banks.

The IMF has begun to look like an office situated in the Pentagon, renting a branch office on Wall Street from Democratic Party headquarters, with the rent paid by Soros. His funds are drawing up a list of assets that he and his colleagues would like to buy from Ukrainian oligarchs and the government they control. The buyout payments for partnership with the oligarchs will not stay in Ukraine, but will be moved quickly to London, Switzerland and New York. The Ukrainian economy will lose the national patrimony with which it emerged from the Soviet Union in 1991, still deeply in debt (mainly to its own oligarchs operating out of offshore banking centers).

Where does this leave European relations with the United States and NATO?

The two futures

A generation ago the logical future for Ukraine and other post-Soviet states promised to be an integration into the German and other West European economies. This seemingly natural complementarity would see the West modernize Russian and other post-Soviet industry and agriculture (and construction as well) to create a self-sufficient and prosperous Eurasian regional power. Foreign Minister Lavrov recently voiced Russia’s hope at the Munich Security Conference for a common Eurasian Union with the European Union extending from Lisbon to Vladivostok. German and other European policy looked Eastward to invest its savings in the post-Soviet states.

This hope was anathema to U.S. neocons, who retain British Victorian geopolitics opposing the creation of any economic power center in Eurasia. That was Britain’s nightmare prior to World War I, and led it to pursue a diplomacy aimed at dividing and conquering continental Europe to prevent any dominant power or axis from emerging.

America started its Ukrainian strategy with the idea of splitting Russia off from Europe, and above all from Germany. The U.S. playbook is simple: Any economic power is potentially military; and any military power may enable other countries to pursue their own interests rather than subordinating their policy to U.S. political, economic and financial aims. Therefore, U.S. geostrategists view any foreign economic power as a potential military threat, to be countered before it can gain steam.

We can now see why the EU/IMF austerity plan that Yanukovich rejected made it clear why the United States sponsored last February’s coup in Kiev. The austerity that was called for, the removal of consumer subsidies and dismantling of public services would have led to an anti-West reaction turning Ukraine strongly back toward Russia. The Maidan coup sought to prevent this by making a war scar separating Western Ukraine from the East, leaving the country seemingly no choice but to turn West and lose its infrastructure to the privatizers and neo-rentiers.

But the U.S. plan may lead Europe to seek an economic bridge to Russia and the BRICS, away from the U.S. orbit. That is the diplomatic risk when a great power forces other nations to choose one side or the other.

The silence from Hillary

Having appointed Valery Nuland as a holdover from the Cheney administration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined the hawks by likening Putin to Hitler. Meanwhile, Soros’s $10 million on donations to the Democratic Party makes him one of its largest donors. The party thus seems set to throw down the gauntlet with Europe over the shape of future geopolitical diplomacy, pressing for a New Cold War.

Hillary’s silence suggests that she knows how unpopular her neocon policy is with voters – but how popular it is with her donors. The question is, will the Republicans agree to not avoid discussing this during the 2016 presidential campaign? If so, what alternative will voters have next year?

This prospect should send shivers down Europe’s back. There are reports that Putin told Merkel and Holland in Minsk last week that Western Europe has two choices. On the one hand, it and Russia can create a prosperous economic zone based on Russia’s raw materials and European technology. Or, Europe can back NATO’s expansion and draw Russia into war that will wipe it out.

German officials have discussed bringing sanctions against Ukraine, not Russia, if it renews the ethnic warfare in its evident attempt to draw Russia in. Could Obama’s neocon strategy backfire, and lose Europe? Will future American historians talk of who lost Europe rather than who lost Russia?

Michael Hudson’s book summarizing his economic theories, “The Bubble and Beyond,” is now available in a new edition with two bonus chapters on Amazon. His latest book is Finance Capitalism and Its Discontents.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. He can be reached via


[1] Fin min hopes Ukraine will get new IMF aid in early March – Interfax,

5:40AM ET on Friday Feb 13, 2015 by Thomson Reuters

[2] “The west needs to rescue the Ukrainian economy,” Financial Times editorial, February 12, 2015.

[3] Elaine Moore, “Contrarian US investor with $7bn of debt stands to lose most if Kiev imposes haircut,” Financial Times, February 12, 2015.


February 16, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Revolving door between arms dealers & govt exposed

RT | February 16, 2015

Arms manufacturers currently have dozens of employees seconded to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and other British government agencies, an investigation has discovered.

The revelations highlight the close relationship between business and government, especially in highly lucrative industries such as the arms trade.

Employees from BAE Systems (manufacturers of the Eurofighter Typhoon), MBDA (makers of missiles), Babcock (defense contractor working on Trident nuclear submarine replacement), and MSI (gunnery systems producer) have all taken senior level roles within the MoD.

BAE systems, the second largest arms company in the world, has had more than 10 executives seconded to the MoD and the arms sales unit of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) in the last year.

The MoD’s Equipment and Support Branch, which has a £14 billion annual budget to buy equipment for the armed forces, hosted nine BAE executives in senior positions, the investigation by the Guardian found.

UKTI Defence and Security Organisation, another government department, had four secondments from BAE, two from MBDA, and two from Detica, a cyber-security specialist acquired by BAE in 2010.

While on secondment, salaries are paid by the company and not by the government department they join.

Personnel exchange between business and government works in the opposite direction as well, with 13 civil servants having been seconded from the MoD to outside organizations, including cyber-security company Templar Executives, Lloyds Banking group, arms firm QinetiQ, defense think tank the Institute for Security and Resilience Studies (ISRS) and the BBC.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) described the arrangement as “totally inappropriate.”

Speaking to the Guardian, Andrew Smith of CAAT said, “Arms companies already enjoy a significant and totally disproportionate level of government support, and these kinds of secondments only make it more so.

“It is totally inappropriate for arms companies that will be lobbying for extra military spending to be working for departments that buy their wares.”

Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party, said the British government’s relationship with arms manufacturers was “uncomfortably close.”

“All too often we’ve seen the government’s actions aligned with the interests of big business, which is particularly concerning when the businesses involved produce weapons,” she told the Guardian.

“For many years, the British government has had an uncomfortably close relationship with arms manufacturers and a shady record of arming dictatorships to match.”

“Secondments like these cast a shadow of doubt over the integrity over the actions of both the MoD and UKTI when it comes to their dealings with arms manufacturers. Our policies should serve the common good and must be free from the influence of vested interests like arms companies.”

The Guardian’s revelations come in the wake of the HSBC tax avoidance scandal in which the revolving door between financial institutions and government has also faced scrutiny.

Lord Green, the former head of HSBC, came under the spotlight for having taken the role of Minister of State for Trade and Investment immediately after leaving the bank.

Leaked documents allege that during Green’s tenure as Chairman of HSBC from 2006 to 2010, he oversaw the orchestration of industrial scale tax evasion for drug dealers, international criminals, dictators and terrorists.

Lord Green stood down from a senior position in the banking lobby group The City UK on Saturday.

RELATED: Pregnant activist crashes glitzy arms industry dinner, urges guests ‘consider career change’

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments

Russia negotiating UNSC resolution on Minsk agreement

The BRICS Post | February 16, 2015

The UN Security Council is due to vote soon on a resolution that would approve the recently concluded Minsk agreements, Russian media reported on Monday.

Russia is engaged in negotiations with the 15-member UN council on the resolution initiated by Moscow.

The draft resolution “welcomes the results of the talks in Minsk and includes a call for the parties to be committed to implementing them”, according to a UNSC diplomat quoted by Russian Tass agency.

The vote has been delayed due to amendments introduced in regard to the document.

Britain’s UN envoy Mark Lyall Grant said the diplomats were unable to vote on the resolution on Sunday night due to pending amendments to the document.

Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the UN Security Council Hussein Haniff said members of the global organization were waiting for the Russian side to voice its approval for the amendments before the voting could start.

Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Moscow of fueling a pro-Russian uprising in the country.

Leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine on Sunday held a teleconference, demanding a strict observance of the latest cease-fire agreement struck in Minsk, capital of Belarus.

The four leaders also discussed the importance of getting the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to play a bigger role in monitoring the latest truce agreement struck in Minsk Thursday.

Ukrainian forces and independence-seeking insurgents in Ukraine observed a cease-fire as from Sunday local time as per the agreement which also envisages the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line and constitutional reform to give eastern Ukraine more power.

Officials of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics confirmed that militia forces of the two republics have stopped fire.

Poroshenko on Saturday also issued an order of ceasefire in the conflict zones in the country’s southeastern Donbass region as of Sunday.

The 16-hour marathon summit talks of – Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel – were held in Minsk last Thursday.

The Minsk negotiations lasted for around 16 hours and agreed on a ceasefire from midnight, February 15.

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

US Ex-Defense Chief Hawks Escalation in Ukraine

Sputnik News | 15.02.2015

Former US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is arguing for supplying arms to Ukraine, saying the US should counter Russia’s influence in the former Soviet Union and act as a global leader.

Dealing with Russia should be done from a position of “strength, not from weakness,” former US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told Der Spiegel in an interview published on Saturday, saying that giving Ukraine military aid would give Russia a “higher price to pay.”

“I would have provided arms to Ukraine early on because I think they need to have the military aid necessary to send Russia a message,” Panetta told the publication.

Panetta said that he doubts that the current ceasefire will last, saying that “like the last one, it will only be temporary unless the West is willing to enforce it with both economic and military support to the Ukrainians.”

Panetta added that he would act from a position of strength, and would also give more military aid to NATO countries which border Russia.

“The United States has to be a leader in the world, because the problem is: If we are not leading, nobody else will,” he added.

France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Finland have all rejected the idea of providing Ukraine with lethal assistance. Russia has warned that the proposed US arms deliveries to Kiev could lead to a sharp increase in violence in Donbas, where fighting intensified at the start of 2015. In addition, Russia denies that it is militarily involved in the conflict.

Leon Panetta was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2009 to 2011 and US Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013.

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | 4 Comments

Cops Have Killed Every 8 Hours in 2015, Sending At Least Three People to Early Graves Per Day

By Cassandra Rules | The Free Thought Project | February 16, 2015

As of February 15, only a month and a half into 2015, there have been at least 136 individuals killed by police in the United States since the first of the year.

The frighteningly high number averages out to three killed per day, or someone killed every eight hours. While there is no government-run database, Killed By Police has taken it upon themselves to keep track, and are doing a fantastic job thus far.

Just to put things into perspective, let’s take a look at the rates at which police in other countries kill their citizens.

Let’s look at our immediate neighbors to the north, Canada. The total number of citizens killed by law enforcement officers in the year 2014, was 14; that is 78 times less people than the US.

If we look at the United Kingdom, 1 person was killed by police in 2014 and 0 in 2013. English police reportedly fired guns a total of three times in all of 2013, with zero reported fatalities.

From 2010 through 2014, there were four fatal police shootings in England, which has a population of about 52 million. By contrast, Albuquerque, N.M., with a population 1 percent the size of England’s, had 26 fatal police shootings in that same time period.

China, whose population is 4 and 1/2 times the size of the United States, recorded 12 killings by law enforcement officers in 2014.

Let that sink in. Law enforcement in the US killed 92 times more people than a country with nearly 1.4 billion people. 

It doesn’t stop there.

From 2013-2014, German police killed absolutely no one. 

In the entire history of Iceland police, they have only killed 1 person ever. After exhausting all non-lethal methods to detain an armed man barricaded in his house who actually shot 2 police officers, police were forced to take the 59-year-old man’s life. The country of Iceland grieved for weeks after having to resort to violence.

Unofficially, it seems that American police kill more than all of the first world nations’ police departments combined!

That’s not the only mind-blowing perspective either. So far this year all cop killers have been other cops.  This year the police seem to be far more likely to die as a result of police brutality than at the hand of a violent suspect.

Just last week an officer responding to a domestic disturbance at a North Texas residence, shot and killed off-duty sheriff’s deputy Larry Hostetter, 41, shortly after midnight.

At the end of January, we also reported on a Yonkers police officer who shot a suicidal officer from another precinct, claiming he feared for his safety. We also reported on an undercover Albuquerque police officer who was shot by another officer during a drug bust over $60 worth of meth. The media called it a “tragic accident” while, in reality, it was another example of police shooting someone who poses no threat to them.

There was also John Ballard Gorman  who was shot and killed by a fellow officer during a training exercise in Tunica, MS last month. The officer who shot Gorman failed to switch out his weapon for a training weapon and fired a real round into his fellow officer, killing him.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, the pro-police site that tracks every officer death, not a single police officer has been killed by a suspect so far this year.

Line of Duty Deaths: 14
Automobile accident: 5
Heart attack: 4
Struck by vehicle: 2
Vehicle pursuit: 1
9/11 related illness: 1
Gunfire (Accidental): 1

In fact, being a police officer isn’t even close to being in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in this country. According to the 2013 report by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics on work-related fatal injuries, “Police and sheriff’s patrol deputies” ranked as the 41st most dangerous occupation.

Also, according to an FBI report, Americans are less violent than ever; its the police who have been increasingly violent.

With job related danger so low, there is no excuse for the police to be so trigger happy, acting like they are Batman and every citizen is a violent villain hell bent on their death.

As Liberation News pointed out, a vast majority of those killed by the police in 2015 have again been young African Americans and Latinos. The two youngest were both 17-years-old, Kristiana Coignard of Texas and Jessica Hernandez of Colorado. The oldest was 87-year-old Lewis Becker from rural upstate New York.

Officers who cannot bring 17-year-old girls or 87-year-old men into custody safely have absolutely no business “protecting and serving” anyone. A person who cannot control a situation with a 90 pound high school girl or an elderly gentleman, and “fear for their life” so severely that they need to pull a trigger, is not a hero, they’re a coward.

It is time for the United States to get over its love affair with idolizing the badge.

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

How Many More Wars?

By Ron Paul | February 16, 2015

Last week President Obama sent Congress legislation to authorize him to use force against ISIS “and associated persons and forces” anywhere in the world for the next three years. This is a blank check for the president to start as many new wars as he wishes, and it appears Congress will go along with this dangerous and costly scheme.

Already the military budget for next year is equal to all but the very peak spending levels during the Vietnam war and the Reagan military build-up, according to the Project on Defense Alternatives. Does anyone want to guess how much will be added to military spending as a result of this new war authorization?

The US has already spent nearly two billion dollars fighting ISIS since this summer, and there hasn’t been much to show for it. A new worldwide war on ISIS will likely just serve as a recruiting tool for jihadists. We learned last week that our bombing has led to 20,000 new foreign fighters signing up to join ISIS. How many more will decide to join each time a new US bomb falls on a village or a wedding party?

The media makes a big deal about the so-called limitations on the president’s ability to use combat troops in this legislation, but in reality there is nothing that would add specific limits. The prohibition on troops for “enduring” or “offensive” ground combat operations is vague enough to be meaningless. Who gets to determine what “enduring” means? And how difficult is it to claim that any ground operation is “defensive” by saying it is meant to “defend” the US? Even the three year limit is just propaganda: who believes a renewal would not be all but automatic if the president comes back to Congress with the US embroiled in numerous new wars?

If this new request is not bad enough, the president has announced that he would be sending 600 troops into Ukraine next month, supposedly to help train that country’s military. Just as the Europeans seem to have been able to negotiate a ceasefire between the opposing sides in that civil war, President Obama plans to pour gasoline on the fire by sending in the US military. The ceasefire agreement signed last week includes a demand that all foreign military forces leave Ukraine. I think that is a good idea and will go a long way to reduce the tensions. But why does Obama think that restriction does not apply to us?

Last week also saw the Senate confirm Ashton Carter as the new Secretary of Defense by an overwhelming majority. Carter comes to the Pentagon straight from the military industrial complex, and he has already announced his support for sending lethal weapons to Ukraine. Sen. John McCain’s strong praise for Carter is not a good sign that the new secretary will advise caution before undertaking new US interventions.

As we continue to teeter on the verge of economic catastrophe, Washington’s interventionists in both parties show no signs of slowing. The additional tens of billions or more that these new wars will cost will not only further undermine our economy, but will actually make us less safe. Can anyone point to a single success that the interventionists have had over the last 25 years?

As I have said, this militarism will end one way or the other. Either enough Americans will wake up and demand an end to Washington’s foreign adventurism, or we will go broke and be unable to spend another fiat dollar on maintaining the global US empire.

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 1 Comment

Witnesses against death row grandmother admit they lied following threats from prosecutors

Reprieve | February 16, 2015

Key witnesses against a British grandmother on death row in Texas have said that prosecutors in her 2002 trial threatened or ‘blackmailed’ them into testifying against her.

Among them is the only person who claimed to have seen Linda Carty (56) carry out the murder of Joanna Rodriguez, who has now admitted that Texan District Attorneys (DAs) “threatened me and intimidated me” into identifying Ms Carty as the culprit. Christopher Robinson, who was the key to the prosecution case, admits that he never saw Ms Carty kill anyone and his testimony to this extent at trial was a lie.

Mr Robinson has signed an affidavit, filed in September 2014, in which he testifies that prosecutors “told me I had to testify at Linda’s trial to avoid the death penalty, and they made it clear what it was I had to say.” Mr Robinson adds that they “[told] me I would get the death penalty myself if Linda Carty did not get the death penalty.”

Several other witnesses at Ms Carty’s trial have also admitted they were “blackmailed” by Texan prosecutors, and lied or omitted evidence as a result.

Charles Mathis, a former Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA) officer who was Ms Carty’s ‘handler’ during the time she worked as an informer for the Agency has stepped forward to reveal the lengths the prosecutors went to obtain the testimony they needed. Mr Mathis’ affidavit states that when he told the Texan DA that he “knew that Linda did not have it in her to kill anyone,” and so did not want to testify against her, the DA “threatened me with an invented affair that I was supposed to have had with Linda.”

“I felt that [Texas DA Connie] Spence was threatening and blackmailing me into testifying,” Mr Mathis concludes. “It struck me that Spence wanted a death sentence as a feather in her cap. She was far more interested in a death conviction that the truth.”

As a result of the Prosecutor’s threat to smear him and ruin his marriage with a fictional affair, Mr. Mathis omitted testimony regarding “misconduct during the investigation”.

The new testimony – which was unearthed by lawyers at international legal non-profit Reprieve following years of work and investigation – is currently being considered by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA). Ms Carty’s lawyers are asking for an evidentiary hearing to air this newly discovered evidence and ultimately seek a new trial.

Commenting, Clare Algar, Executive Director of Reprieve said:

“If Linda is not granted a new hearing, she faces the death penalty based on lies extracted by prosecutors desperate to secure an execution at any cost. The behaviour of prosecutors in this case has been so appalling it takes the breath away. They have stooped to targeting the marriage of one witness with invented slurs, while using the threat of death to force another to produce the lies they needed for conviction. Linda’s last hope is that Texas recognises that she deserves a new – and this time fair – trial.”

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , | 2 Comments